This season will undoubtedly be Kobe Bryant’s final one in the NBA, but his basketball career could potentially continue beyond his last game with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe had previously expressed interest in participating in the 2016 Olympic Games for Team USA, but that no longer seems to be the case.
Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters reports that Kobe is no longer interested in playing, saying that it’s the young guys’ turn to play:
Kobe Bryant no longer leaving the door open for playing in the 2016 Olympics, says he'd rather "support the players from afar."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 17, 2016
Kobe also added that he would prefer his final basketball game to be with the Lakers, not Team USA according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Kobe said he wants his final game to be in Lakers purple and gold, which will be against Utah at Staples Center in April, not for Team USA.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 17, 2016
This is a definite change of heart for Kobe, but it does go to show how much he values the Lakers organization. Kobe’s first and last game will be in purple and gold and that is something that he values.
Kobe already has accomplished plenty internationally, winning two Olympic gold medals. His performance against Spain in the 2008 Gold Medal game has always been one that stands out as Kobe took over the game down the stretch, ensuring a victory for Team USA.
With this announcement, Kobe has now ruled out playing overseas as well as in the Olympics, so there is no doubt that when Kobe hangs it up for the Lakers, he truly is done playing basketball for good.